Writing

A Survivor’s Thanksgiving

Abusive father and brother…
Sister who threw me to the curb…
I went to Tent City 4 and hated it there.
Then I became an independent operator homeless man.
Dealing with people was too much of a headache.
Generally, I prefer being alone.
Now that I have lymphoma — round two — everyone wants to be nice.
They think I may die.
I do not.
I will just need treatment from time to time.
I do not plan on dying any time soon.

At first, it was just my younger brother, mother, and father.
My younger brother and I bonded as kids.
We had a lot of fun together.
Of course, I love my mother.
She was the core, the only one holding our family together.
And she, too, was a victim.
I may be able to handle my father in small doses.
It has been years since I have seen my parents in the flesh.
And for good reason.
My father was a brute.
While he has stopped the physical violence, he can still be a jerk.
His attitude and demeanor are often too much for me.
I do not like the way he treats people, especially my mother.

Of course, no one asked me.
It is just announced.
“We are coming up for Thanksgiving!”
Oh, boy.
I would rather be alone and watch football.
Check my email.
Write on my blog.
Then, I am told that my sister,
who threw me out like a piece of garbage,
wants to meet up for lunch.
No one asks me.
It is just decided on my behalf.
Then, I learn that my older, abusive, jerk-of-a-brother is coming.
I cannot stand his snarky attitude toward me.
Like father, like son.
Once again, no one asks me.
There is a pattern here.

I am willing to give it a shot.
I don’t know why.
BUT CHECK YOUR ATTITUDES AT THE DOOR
OR I WILL LEAVE.
I will retreat to my sanctuary,
the one place where I can shut out the world — my apartment.
I have a place to live and relax and rest, thankfully.

Am I bitching too much?
Writing, like brushstrokes on a canvas or digging my hands into clay, is therapy.
This blog is helping me.
And for that I am thankful.

I debated what to title this.
A ‘Special’ and Strange Thanksgiving…
An Awkward Thanksgiving…
There are many words — too many — to describe it.

Wish me luck. I am gonna need it.

Painting

A famous painting has been hanging upside down for 77 years

At least one art critic thinks it looks better that way. The piece is by abstractionist painter Piet Mondrian. It is unfinished and unsigned. I have actually put arrows with directions on my work to avoid this very problem. Maybe Mondrian just wanted to confuse people. I wonder if he would care. Would you be upset if someone displayed your art differently than what was intended? “It’s now part of the work’s story.”

Writing

Where is Daisy?

Where is Eric? So many come and go. Fast friends lost.

Where is Ruanda? I asked that a few years back. Has anyone heard from Ruanda?

“Oh, honey, she died.”

We were supposed to go to the aquarium together. She had invited me, with a big smile on her face. We had become friends just weeks before. I first met her when she visited the Path with Art choir one day.

At the big gala opening of the awesome new art space, which was attended by many and a lot of fun, by the way, I had a similar conversation.

“We should get her involved again. We should do something with her.” I was talking about a teaching artist that another teaching artist had mentioned.

“She died last year.”

Again with this!? I never seem to get the memos.

I easily lose track of time. I do not know why. It is a strange part of my makeup. I shutter myself away in my own little world.

She was a force. I could tell when first meeting her. I have read more about her life, including her work as an artist and a mother. She was definitely a force. I am sad that future collaborations are no longer possible, at least on this earthly realm.

I have a dream that a circle of us students, or participant artists as they now call us, come together to write cards to those who go missing for whatever reasons — moving, working, living. I want to keep in touch with those of my friends who go missing from our community.

By the way, where is Michael?

In The News

Fair use or copyright infringement?

Andy Warhol's silkscreen prints from his Prince series, circa 1984, are based on a photograph by Lynn Goldsmith.
Andy Warhol’s silkscreen prints from his “Prince” series are based on a photograph by Lynn Goldsmith.

PURPLE FAME
In 2019, a federal judge ruled in favor of Andy Warhol and the foundation established after his death regarding the “Prince Series” of screenprints he made for Vanity Fair in 1984.

For $400, Vanity Fair licensed one of photographer Lynn Goldsmith’s black-and-white studio portraits of Prince from December 1981 and commissioned Warhol to create an illustration of Prince for an article published in November of 1984. He made 16 pieces in total. Goldsmith objected and sued.

However, Warhol transcended the photographer’s copyright by transforming a picture of a vulnerable and uncomfortable Prince into an artwork that made the singer an “iconic, larger-than-life figure,” the judge decided. The ruling was appealed by Goldsmith, “a pioneering photographer known for unique portraits of famous musicians,” and the case landed at the Supreme Court, where arguments have been heard. The court’s decision will likely be made public next year, in June of 2023.

Such cases fascinate me. Remember when artist Shepard Fairey was sued by the Associated Press for using a photograph of Barack Obama as the basis for his famous HOPE poster? That case was, thankfully, settled out of court. Who wants to be in protracted court proceedings for years and years? We have to wait and see what the court decides in the Goldsmith versus Warhol case.

Writing

Sleep

I cannot sleep.
Then, I become exhausted and sleep too much.
I cannot function well.
Day is night, and night is day.
I live in opposite world.
Thyroid, lymphoma, testosterone, diabetes.
Exhaustion.
What else can go wrong?
What else will go wrong?
So damn tired.
This is living?
I learn that someone I admire has died.
Suicide.
I seem to be the last to know.
I live in a different world.
Am I alone?
I feel like an alien on a strange planet.